Prosecutor announces charge against Richmond Hill suspect in murder-for-hire plot

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Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry revealed a new charge against Richmond Hill blast suspect Mark Leonard in what he characterized as a murder-for-hire plot.

Leonard was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. A source informed Fox 59 of the development Wednesday, revealing that jail investigators intercepted phone calls from Leonard attempting to orchestrate the plot from jail.

During a Thursday morning news conference, Curry revealed that Leonard tried to arrange for the death of a witness in the explosion identified only as “M.D.” According to Curry, Leonard offered a hit man $15,000 to carry out the hit. Curry also said Leonard offered an additional $5,000 as a “bonus” for successful completion.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Leonard thought “that if M.D. was killed, (he) would have to be released shortly after M.D.’s death.”

Leonard drew up a map and provided information about M.D.’s neighbors and neighborhood. According to Curry, Leonard wanted M.D.’s death to look like a suicide. Leonard arranged the deal by making phone calls from the Marion County Jail. Curry said Leonard tried to orchestrate the plot through an inmate housed in the same cell block.

The hit man contact was an undercover investigator from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who confirmed the deal by recording phone calls. Investigators also recovered a document signed by Leonard confirming the payment of $15,000 upon his release from jail.

According to court documents, Leonard said M.D. “was a homebody with no friends…there won’t be nobody showing up or nothing.” The documents said “the best time (for the killing) would be the evening and advised there wouldn’t be kids, other people or dogs.” Leonard said going through the back door “would be best” to avoid arousing the suspicion of neighbors.

Leonard said to make the death “quick and quiet,” according to court documents. When asked by the hit man if he wanted a “souvenir” to confirm the killing, Leonard replied, “Yeah, I don’t need it, reading in the paper will be enough.”

Leonard said the murder “will get me out of here, dude” and advised that the fewer people who knew about the plot, the better. Investigators said the undercover agent asked Leonard about the plot several times, and Leonard affirmed that he wanted to go through with it.

Curry said he was unaware of any threats against other witnesses in the case.

Leonard already faces several charges in connection with the November 2012 explosion that killed Jennifer and Dion Longworth in the Richmond Hill neighborhood. Investigators said it was a plot to destroy a home and defraud an insurance company.

Leonard, his girlfriend and homeowner Moncy Shirley; and his half-brother Bob Leonard are charged with murder and arson in the case.

Investigators said the trio conspired with possibly one more person to blow up Shirley’s home on Fieldfare Way by opening up a gas valve on a fire place, filling the home with natural gas. Several hours later, a small metal tank placed inside a microwave oven set with a delayed timer exploded, setting off the explosion that destroyed the home and damaged dozens of others.

Just before Christmas, the Leonard brothers and Shirley were arrested and placed in the Marion County jail where they remain right now.

Shirley and the Leonard brothers are due back in court April 10, when the judge begins taking a look at a 2014 trial date.  Each defendant faces the prospect of life without parole if convicted.

34 comments

  • Johnny Lee Way

    You mean to tell me they actually record jailhouse phone calls? Wow, who woulda thought such a thing? Poor Leonard apparently isn't the most cunning of criminals.

    • anon

      ROTFLMFAO!!! As if he isn't in enough trouble, he goes & does this? How stupid can he get? Besides, if the "hit man" had followed through, how did he think he was gonna get paid? Insurance companies don't pay out when the policy holder participates in fraud! If by some miracle Moncy Shirley's jury is as dumb as her boyfriend & she is found not guilty in court, the insurance company can still deny the claim because of suspicious circumstances.

    • anon

      I totally agree! It's not as if it's a case of he said/she said; they have the moron ON TAPE ARRANGING A HIT ON A WITNESS!!! Sorry for shouting, that's just wrong on too many levels!

  • Max Power

    Unbelievable. I can't decide which is more dumb: The fact that he tried to do this FROM A JAIL TELEPHONE, or the fact that he was so sure that this one person's death would get him sprung out of the joint. As if all those other witnesses, demolished houses, and forensic evidence don't count….

  • Guest

    Terry Curry said he was unaware of any threats? Really dude? And undercover sure was aware enough to bust this asshole.

    • Roger

      Curry is unaware of most things in our city..he's all show and no go, these animals should have had the death penalty

  • Bob

    Finish reading sentences…. "Curry said he was unaware of any threats against other witnesses in the case."

  • SOUTHSIDE

    I AM NOT GETTING WHY THESE 3 ARE NOT GETTING THE DEATH PENALITY. THERE IS SOMETHING DEFINITELY WRONG WITH OUR SYSTEM. THEY DISRUPTED LIVES, HOMES WERE DESTROYED AND NOT TO MENTION 2 INNOCENT PEOPLE KILLED IN THIS HORRIFIC SENSELESS ACT THEY PULLED OFF. I AM SIMPLY NOT GETTING IT. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS PROSECUTOR, TERRY CURRY OF WHY NOT THE DEATH PENALITY?

  • Hawk

    It is not so much the Prosecutor but with society. The death penalty is not very popular in a Conservative, religious oriented state like Indiana. In any death penalty case it becomes very hard to obtain a conviction.

    • anon

      Hawk is right; not only is it harder to get a conviction in death penalty cases, the state of IN has never executed a female, & most juries would let Moncy Shirley walk rather than vote for her execution. If she walks, so do they! Because she was the homeowner trying to get out from under a foreclosure & get a huge insurance settlement in the process, she had the motive, the others were just "helping out." Besides, nobody can prove that they planned to kill anyone in the neighborhood or destroy other neighbors' homes, just that they planned to destroy Moncy's home.

      I agree, though, that it's a shame that the death penalty was taken off the table, but does anybody really want to see these losers found not guilty? If that happens, they can't be re-tried if further evidence surfaces.

    • furpurr

      Check your facts, Hawk. The death penalty is enacted in the most right-wing areas; it is a liberal stance that finds it "inhumane".

  • Becca

    Terry Curry has no prosecuted one big case since he has been elected..Name one big case…he chickened out on Bisard ,sending it out of the county. He lets the crazy Chinese lady off, he lets these animals off. he keeps letting the gangsters off..Terry Curry needs to grow some balls. We will remember this in the next election..Curry did not prosecute the tough cases

  • drt52

    To be a death penalty case, the arson must be committed with the intention of killing the victim(s). There is no way it could be proven that their intent was to kill the two neighbors.

    • anon

      drt52 is right, they can't prove intent to kill, so they have to go with what they can prove. Plotting to kill a witness & having that plot recorded because it was on a prison phone? Priceless! This moron has pretty much guaranteed a guilty verdict for them all! LMAO!

      • Mr Right

        Wrong. There doesn't have to be intent to kill if their deaths were the result of them committing 2 or more felony's. If you accidently kill someone while committing a felony, you are eligible. If you recall, Curry stated it could have been a death penalty case but he chose not to seek it because it is harder to get a conviction in a death penalty case.

      • anon

        Not necessarily. My friend's ex set her apartment on fire & 1 of her kids died. The prosecutor stated he couldn't charge him with murder of a 7 yr old child because they couldn't prove intent to kill, they were only able to prove he set the fire because he told them how he did it. He got 25 years fir arson & 25 years after that term for habitual criminal, & his release date is only 2 years away. He is only serving 20 out of 50 years, & absolutely nothing for killing a child! They were going to charge him with reckless homicide, but changed their minds because they didn't want to "confuse the jury"; reckless homicide is only an 8 yr max sentence & arson is 25 yrs minimum. The goal was to keep him locked up as long as possible, I hope he leaves in a body bag!

  • Brandy

    Name ONE big case that Curry has prosecuted.He always pleas them out, the criminals know he's a puss. These animals are getting away with murder and Curry could care less. Curry had NO choice but to have this press conference,however you will not see him take this case much further due to the fact that he has NO balls.

  • deb

    dummy dummy dummy havent got enough yet trying to kill another innocent person u need the death penalty for sure

  • deejay76

    In addition to being a low life murdering skumbaag, this guy is also the poster child for Morons R Us. He's a rabid dog, and needs to be put down for the good of all society.

  • Abby

    We shouldn't wish death on any one. If we're mad at him for wishing death on someone, why would we wish death on him too?

    • anon

      It isn't a crime to merely wish death on someone, especially this moron who is a waste of space. Where he messed up is that he's already murdered 2 innocent neighbors because He & his girlfriend were greedy & cooked up a plan to commit insurance fraud. Their plan caused several of their neighbors to lose things like photos & a sense of safety in their own homes. Then he goes & tries to order a hit on a witness & he deserves to live? You are way too naive!

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